It has been a very mild week! There is even a snowdrop blooming in the garden! Gone are the snow and the rain. I was out in the garden a couple of days ago, sorting out Christmas lights. I looked down, and there on my arm was a butterfly, sitting there quietly as I moved wires about and pegged down my favourite robin light. What was a butterfly doing in my garden at this time of year? And he was not for moving! I climbed over the fence to show it to my neightbour and he did not move. I went into the house to show it to my wife, and he did not move. I messed about taking his picture with my mobile phone, and he did not move. I went inside to get my big camera and as I went back into the garden he decided he had had enough and off he flew.
In a week when “selfie” pictures are in the news here is a selfie picture of my arm, with the tortoiseshell butterfly; and for good measure another selfie picture of me taken with my big camera for a bit of nonsense.
As I was packing up to go inside I notced two vapour trails from aeroplanes in the sky above the setting sun. They had crossed over and were forming a St Andrew’s Cross against the pale blue sky. Not a great picture I know, but well worth recording with the mobile phone again.
Inevitably I thought of the story of King Aengus MacFergus, King of the Picts and his victory over King Athelstane of the Northumbrians at the battle of Athelstaneford, near Haddington. The story goes that he had a vision of St Andrew in the night and during the battle, Aengus saw a cross of white clouds against a blue sky – hence the Saltire which has been the emblem of Scotland since then. In these days in the run-up to the Independence Referendum, was this another sign in the sky?
The ancients took great interest in signs and their interpretation. What would they make of a snowdrop in December, a winter butterfly and a cross in the sky, I wonder?